» Wazari Wazir Photographer Blog, Malaysian Photographer

 bio picture
  • Welcome to My Blog!

    Hi, I'm Wazari Wazir, Malaysian Photojournalist working for the Government of Malaysia. Will be sharing a wide variety of pictures here from my official assignment and personal pictures. I do conduct Photography and Photoshop Workshops if there is any invitations.

    I've Conduct a Photoshop Workshops in IIUM International Islamic University Malaysia (Gombak) and also at Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology (UniKL MIAT), in Selangor and other Photography Workshops all over the country including Sabah Malaysia North Borneo.

    My Blog is The Winner for Best Photography Blog 2014 during MSMW Malaysia Social Media Week Blogger Awards 2014.

    Thank you for visiting My Blog and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me through my email...

    wazariwazir@yahoo.com | Tel No : + 6012 2812753

Why I Chose Small Compact Camera Like Fujifilm X100T

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Kuala Lumpur Train Station

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Kuala Lumpur Train Station

Actually this is not so much about Fujifilm X100T camera but more about on why in certain situation it is better to have a small compact camera than using a big bulky DSLR camera. Most professional photographers doesn’t use a small compact camera as their main arsenal, most of them are using it as their backup or simply a second camera in case their big brother are in trouble but nowadays the image quality that you can get from a small compact camera like Fufilm X series and other brand with similar specification is good enough for serious task.

Take a street photography for an example, if we were given a task to photographed or document a life on the street, I think nothing can beat small compact camera, simply because people don’t really bother, people don’t really care about you, you are not means serious business, you are just another “tourist” in the city. I’ve use DLSR all my life and whenever I take it out on the street, people will always pays attention to it and sometimes I miss a lot of great moment and most of the times I feel uncomfortable.

The photographs above were taken at Kuala Lumpur Train Station, actually I’m not there to test out the camera but I get down there for another assignment and I would like to take a few quick shot there. What I can tell you guys here is that, people don’t really bother about my presence there, not many people take a second look of me. They just going through their life, I don’t think I can shoot comfortably there with my big DSLR camera without someone pay attention to it and asked a few question about my presence.

I like the compact size of my Fujifilm X100T camera and I also like the sound of the camera, I can say it is almost dead silent in a busy surrounding, you can’t really know whether you have a taken a shot without looking at the LCD to confirm it.

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | A Man Sticking a Stamp on a Asean 2015 First Day Cover

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Malaysia Post Office Employee Putting a Stamp on Asean 2015 Commemorative First Day Cover

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Malaysia Post Office Employee Putting a Stamp on Asean 2015 Commemorative First Day Cover

After that I went to Pos Malaysia office located at Dayabumi Complex to buy a First Day Cover and Asean Commemorative stamp in conjunction with Malaysia being ASEAN Chairmanship 2015.

People there don’t really about me as well, it’s like I’m not there, It’s like I’m invisible to them and there is no loud sound of shutter camera to scare them away and the small size of my Fujifilm X100T camera put them at ease, they just keeps on doing their routine. I was sitting in front of a man who are busy sticking a new ASEAN stamp on the First Day Cover, even though he knew my presence because I’m also doing what he do, sticking out the stamp and even though he knew I’m having a camera on my side, he just don’t bother or felt threaten by my presence. Maybe he think that I’m just taking a photographs of my new acquire stamp when in fact, I’m photographing him.

Same goes to the Malaysian Pos Office employee, I did not get his attention, he is so busy stamping my stamp with Asean 2015 logo and does not look uncomfortable even though I’m right in front of him taking his picture. The situation might be different if I were to use my normal big bulky DSLR. I might raise a few unwanted attention there. There is a lot of stamp lover there buying the first cover editions.

Some people asked me about other brand of Mirrorless camera, are they any better than Fujifilm X-series, I honestly can’t answer that simply because I’ve never had any experience with them, yes Fujifilm X100T camera my not be the greatest Mirrorless camera on the market but I simply love it. I like the classic look of the camera, the sturdiness of the X100T body and I also like the new Classic Chrome Film Simulation mode, in fact all of the photograph above were taken with Classic Chrome Film simulation mode.

The point here is that, sometimes a small compact camera like mirrorless camera is good enough with this type of photography. A small compact mirrorless camera may not be suitable for a wildlife photography, fast moving subject like spots photography but when it comes to traveling, I think I don’t need other camera rather than my new Fujifilm X100T camera, I’m not doing any kind of stock photography for sale, I’m just a hobbyist, photographing here and there for a visual memory and this small compact mirrorless camera is all that I need at this period of time. I want to travel light and I want to travel far without putting too much stress on my body and on my wallet.

“When photography gets so technical as to intimidate people, the element of simple enjoyment is bound to suffer. Any man who can see what he wants to get on film will usually find some way to get it; and a man who thinks his equipment is going to see for him is not going to get much of anything.”

- Hunter S. Thompson -

Kembara Trans-Siberian Railway | Pengalaman Di Dalam Keretapi

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Have a Great Conversation With Buryatia Student From Ulan-Ude

Bila saya post tetang trip Trans-Siberia ni ada yang komen, antara lain bermaksud “Naik train just utk tengok view, duduk dalam keretapi tanpa buat apa-apa macam tengok dalam  TV”, mungkin dia maksudkan tengok pemandangan di luar tingkap keretapi macam hanya tengok view dalam Tv sahaja. kadang-kadang malas nak komen kerana bagi saya yang menulis komen pun tak minat nak ambil tahu tentang Trans-Siberian Railway ni, kalau dia ambil tahu, maka tiadalah keluar komen yang sebegitu.

Trans-Siberian Railway ini hanyalah laluan keretapi merentasi Siberia yang luas di Russia ni, sama macam bas express kita iaitu “Transnasional” iaitu sebuah bas yang merentasi Semenjung Malaysia. Ayat yang sesuai saya tak pasti apa untuk “Trans” tu tapi mungkin seperti “Merentasi atau Melalui” seperti Trans-Borneo, Trans-Java dan seumpamanya tapi taklah sama macam “Transformer.”

Trans-Siberian hanyalah laluan merentasi Siberia, cuma Trans-Siberian “Railway” ialah laluan merentasi Siberia dengan menggunakan pengangkutan keretapi, boleh juga kita merentasi Trans-Siberia dengan menaiki kereta, bas, lori, basikal dan lain-lain lagi jenis pengangkutan darat bukan semestinya dengan menaiki keretapi.

Cuma mungkin ada yang keliru, bila sebut sahaja menaiki laluan Trans-Siberia dengan keretapi sebagai contoh dari Moscow ke Vladivostok atau ke Beijing kita akan berada di dalam keretapi berhari-hari antara enam hingga tujuh hari tanpa keluar ke mana-mana. Mungkin ada yang berkata, bosanlah macm tu. Itu bagi mereka yang agak malas nak membaca tentang apa itu Trans-Siberia sebenarnya.

Sebenarnya terdapat berpuluh-puluh hentian antara Moscow ke Beijing atau ke Vladivostok, sama juga sekiranya kita menaiki keretapi KTM dari Kuala Lumpur ke Arau, ada banyak hentian sebelum sampai ke Arau Perlis, cuma bagi yang ingin ke Arau mereka akan turun di Arau tetapi bagi yang ingin turun ke  destinasi antara keduanya boleh sahaja.

Sama juga dengan laluan keretapi Trans-Siberian, kita bebas nak turun di mana sahaja untuk bermalam semalam dua atau lebih, kita boleh pilih bandar mana yang kita rasa menarik dan ada banyak tempat-tempat menarik untuk dilawati seperti di Moscow, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk atau Kazan di mana di sana terletaknya sebuah masjid yang agak indah iaiti Kul-Sharif dan ia juga kawasan penduduk beragama Islam Tartastan, kita juga boleh turun di Irkutsk untuk melakukan lawatan ke Tasik Baikal, trekking di sekitar Baikal ataupun memancing ikan di Tasik Baikal yang beku sekiranya kita datang pada musim sejuk atau Winter ataupupun mencuba menaiki kereta salji atau “sledge” yang ditarik oleh anjing-anjing Siberian Husky.

Cuma sekiranya kita memilih untuk turun bermalam, kita kena beli tiket keretapi berasingan, sebagai contoh, saya memulakan perjalanan saya dari Saint Petersburg, bermalam dua malam di sana sebelum meneruskan perjalanan ke Moscow, juga saya bermalam selama dua malam dan kemudian meneruskan perjalanan lagi ke Kazan, saya juga habiskan masa selama dua malam di sana, melawat tempat-tempat menarik yang ada di sana.

Kesemua tiket tersebut saya beli berasingan, saya beli secara online untuk menjimatkan masa saya, boleh juga kita beli tiket tersebut di kaunter tiket di stesen keretapi di Russia cuma kita perlu banyak masa kerana kebanyakan dari mereka tidak pandai berkomunikasi dalam Bahasa Inggeris, kita kena guna Bahasa Isyarat ataupun tulis di atas sekeping kertas destinasi mana kita hendak pergi, tarikh, jenis kelas yang kita mahu 1st,2nd, 3rd class keretapi dan jenis keretapi yang kita ingini dalam tulisan Cyrillic. Saya pernah beli tiket di stesen keretapi di Irkutsk.

Di dalam keretapi pula kita akan jumpa pelbagai jenis orang kerana pengangkutan keretapi di Russia ini seperti bas cuma penduduk di sana menggunakannya untuk perjalanan jarak jauh antara tujuh, lapan jam hingga berhari-hari. Dalam gambar di atas itu saya kongsikan gambar saya bersama pelajar universiti dari Yekaterinburg, mereka menaiki train dari Yekaterinburg, manakala saya menaiki train dari Kazan. Kesemua mereka turun di Ulan-Ude dan mereka adalah dari kaum Buryatia, yang ada sedikit kena mengena dengan Mongolian. (Ulan-Ude terletak di selatan Russia)

Saya banyak habiskan masa bersembang dan berbual dengan mereka dan juga penumpang-penumpang lain di dalam keretapi ini namun tak semuanya sempat saya rakam gambarnya, gambar yang di atas inipun dirakam oleh seorang lelaki dari Turkey, dia travel bersama isterinya yang berasal dari Krasnoyarsk, lelaki yang wajahnya seperti Chinese yang duduk di sebelah bahu kanan saya itu mengambil iPhone saya dan menyuruh lelaki Turkey tersebut untuk merakam gambar kami beramai-ramai, bukan saya yang mintak tapi lelaki Buryatia tu yang ejas.

Sebelumnya saya bersembang dengan lelaki Turkey tu, saya tunjuk pada dia gambar-gambar masa saya di Istanbul dan saya juga tunjuk gambar-gambar keluarga saya pada student dari Yekaterinburg tu, selepas itu baru dia ambil iPhone saya dan suruh lelaki Turkey tu mengambil gambar kami. Waktu ni dah malam, tak berapa ingat pukul berapa tetapi lebih kurang pukul 10:00PM rasanya.

Penumpang turun naik bersilih ganti bergantung pada destinasi yang mereka tuju, cuma pelajar-pelajar dari Ulan-Ude ni agak lama dalam keretapi ni, lebih lama dari saya kerana saya turun di Irkutrsk manakala mereka turun di Ulan-Ude, lebih kurang tujuh hingga lapan jam lagi perjalalan selepas saya turun.

Bila mereka tahu saya hendak ke Baikal, sebelum saya turun, salah seorang dari mereka datng duduk di kerusi depan saya bagi sedikit nasihat dan panduan pasal waktu itu suhu di Irkutsk sangat sejuk, antara -22 hingga -25 Celsius.

Semasa dalam perjalanan dari Mongolia ke Beijing pula saya duduk satu compartment dengan tiga lelaki dari Korea Utara, yang seorang boleh bertutur dalam Bahasa Inggeris manakala yang dua lagi tu tak berapa pandai tetapi masih ingin berkomunikasi dengan saya. Setiap kali hendak makan mesti mereka pelawa saya, makan biskut, minum air dan macam-macam lagi, berkongsi gambar keluarga, saya tunjuk gambar keluarga saya pada mereka dan mereka pun tunjukkan gambar keluarga mereka pada saya. Seronok berbual dengan mereka walaupun agak lambat untuk kita faham apa yang hendak mereka cakapkan.

Kalau nak cerita, seribu satu malam pun tak habis rasanya tetapi bagi saya perjalanan Trans-Siberian ini bukan untuk semua orang, maksud saya, mungkin ada yang enjoy, mungkin ada yang rasa bosan terutamanya sekiranya anda travel berseorangan, saya nak sembang lebih-lebih pun tak ada faedahnya bagi saya, cukuplah kalau saya katakan pengalaman perjalanan solo Trans-Siberian Railway merentasi Russia dari Saint Petersburg hingga ke Beijing dengan jarak perjalanan lebih kurang 8515km adalah merupakan antara kenangan paling manis dan bermakna dalam hidup saya.

Perjalanan paling lama saya dalam keretapi ini ialah selama lebih kurang 67 jam atau tiga hari dalam keretapi, iaitu perjalanan dari Kazan ke Irkutsk. Tetapi saya rasa seperti perjalanan tersebut hanya memakan masa selama sehari, banyak benda saya buat dalam train, selain bersembang, mengambil gambar, melihat pemandangan, menulis journal dan banyak lagi. Bila mana keretapi berhenti di mana-mana hentian, kita boleh turun sekejap untuk membeli makanan di kedai-kedai yang terdapat di tepi-tepi landasan keretapi, kebiasaanya keretapi akan berhenti antara lima belas minit hingga tiga puluh minit untuk mengambil dan menurunkan penumpang.

Walaupun gambar di atas kualitinya agak rendah berbanding gambar-gambar rakaman kamera Fujifilm X100T yang saya bawa semasa trip Trans-Siberia tetapi gambar tersebut merupakan antara gambar kenangan paling bermakna bagi saya. Gambar tersebut mengembalikan kenangan manis saya semasa berada tiga hari dalam train laluan Trans-Siberia Railway dari Kazan ke Irkutsk.

“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.”

- Kim Culbertson -

Travel | Planning For Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Trans-Siberian Railway | A Train Stop Somewhere in Siberia in Winter

© 2014 Bryan Thomas | The Trans-Siberian Railway Map

Trans-Siberian Railway journey is undoubtedly is among the most epic journey one can make, it is the longest railway network in the world. The journey from Moscow to Vladivostok is 9289 KM  in seven days and if you take the train from Moscow to Beijing via Trans-Mongolian it will take six days for 7865 Km distance.

The question here, is, is it for you? To be honest this route is not for everyone, not many people can feel comfortable spending few days on the train, yes off-course you can spend few night here and there along the Trans-Siberian Railway but still it took long hours to reach your destination. Russia is one big country, the largest country on earth.

First you need to know, is it for you? Most of my blog readers here are photography enthusiast, even though occasionally and quite often I will write something about travel related story but mostly came to my blog for photography related material.

Back to photography, is it worth it? Well, it depends, if you like street photography, documentary photography or something like photojournalism work, then, yes, there is plenty of stories to be told or captured along the way, but on the other hand if you like a landscape photography, then I will not suggest it to you. You will be wasting much of your time on the train without getting a shot of your dream.

But Russia is one large country, if you still wanted to photograph the beautiful landscape of Russia, there is plenty of it, from the magnificent Lake Baikal to the beautiful Altai Mountain Range, but then, you need to have plenty of time because the distance from one place to anther is quite far. For an example if you were to visit Altai Mountain, the nearest train station is Novosibirsk and from that point you need to travel about 600 KM to reach  Gorno-Altaisk the nearest town. (Gorno-Altaysk is the Capital Town of the Altai Republic).

On the other hand if you like to photograph the iconic Lake Baikal, then from Moscow it will take around five days by train to reach Irkutsk, the nearest town  to Lake Baikal. But then again, if your purpose is for landscape Photography in Russia, you don’t really need to start from Moscow, there is a flight to Irkutsk and Novosibirsk and this will cut the traveling time tremendously or you can start from Beijing, take the flight to Mongolia and spend few days there to Photographs the Mongolian Steppe and spend few night on the famous Mongolian Yurt. After that take the train to Irkutsk, approximately 32 hours train journey between Ulaanbatar to Irkutsk by train.

As a photographer our priority is different, and I cannot suggest which city that you need to spend few days because each city has its own story to tell and one is more picturesque than the other. For landscape photographer, remote area in Russia offer plenty of photographic adventure but then, as I said earlier, it is quite far and hard to reach.

For casual travel photographer like me, there is plenty of option, in fact you can easily spend a month in Russia traveling here and there and spend few night at each city along the way.

When to go is another great question, I love winter because to see real Russia, nothing beat in winter but then, during winter daylight will be limited, the sun rose around 9:30 – 10:00 am in the morning and sunset usually around 5:30 Pm, so your photographic adventure are quite limited, some people like summer around May to September because the daylight is longest. When to go is totally up to you, both offer plenty of photographic opportunity but for me, I will always choose winter, Russian Winter is strong but despite the cold, I like it personally.

Within Russia, there is plenty of train, it should be no problem buying it directly at the train station but I highly suggest that you buy it online if possible, it will save you a lot of time and furthermore it is quite tricky to buy train ticket at the train station if you don’t speak Russian but it can be done, I’ve bough a train ticket for Beijing from Irkutsk personally at Irkutsk train station and have no problem with that.

Before you decide to buy Trans-Siberian railway tickets, asked yourself, whether it is for you or not? Just because someone said it is among the greatest trip of all time, it doesn’t mean it is also great for you, it is not cheap either to make this trip happen, so don’t get crazy over it. Think deeply, only you have the answer and for me, will I do it again? In a Heartbeat…

*Related Post : Traveling Trans-Siberian Railway Alone

Travel And Photography | The Trans-Siberian Railway | Sunrise Over Lake Baikal | Siberia

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Sunrise Over Lake Baikal | Trans-Siberian Railway | Siberia | Russia

“In The Canvas of Life, a Flat Landscape Would be Pretty Boring. It is The Valleys and The Mountains That Help Us to Appreciate the Flatlands. It is the Dark That Makes Us Appreciate the Light, and The Cold That Makes Us Appreciate the Warm.”

- Anne Copeland -

Traveling Trans-Siberian Railway Alone

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Beautiful Village Along Trans-Siberian Railway in Siberia

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Empty Train Compartment on Trans-Siberian Railway

“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.”

- Kim Culbertson -

“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.”

- Deepak Chopra -

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

- Henry David Thoreau -

“Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep out alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no when you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here. Believe in kissing.”

- Eve Ensler -

“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

First thing first, actually it was never my intention to travel Trans-Siberian Railway alone. Actually I did talk about it with some of my close friends and have been posting links about Trans-Siberian Railway topics quite a lot on my facebook timeline. A lot of my friends wanted to do it also but the real problem is that, I can never find a person that have the flexibility to travel with me at any time, when I’m free, they are not and when they are ready,I’m not. Things like that keeps going on and on.

I’ve been dreaming about doing this trip for more than ten years, I still remember and actually I did keep an old article from a newspaper back then about a single Malaysian women who have done it from Helsinki Finland all the way to Beijing via Trans-Siberian Railway alone and she spend less than RM10K or less than USD3K for the whole journey. Before that I thought we need at less RM15K to do the journey, so with that article and with a beautiful pictures that she shared on the newspaper, makes me wanted to try it but at that time, I can only dream about it.

I don’t want to write long about pros and cons of traveling solo Trans-Siberian Railway because there are hundreds thousand of them already if you care to search it with Google, but what I really miss the most is that I did not get a good picture of myself because I don’t have a friends to take a better picture of me, yes I can asked help from a stranger but normally the photograph that you will get is quite terrible , it is just so and so unless the strangers himself is a photographer also, to be honest I did not get a nice photograph of myself in this long journey.

Other than that, it is quite difficult to plan a Trans-Siberian journey with friends especially if they are far away from you, I mean someone that you can’t have a discussion in person not through social media. There is a lot of planning involved, to get an Invitation Letter, to apply for Russian Visa, Chinese Visa and also to buy a Train Ticket online as soon as possible and not to forget to book the hostel and hostel in advance.

If we need to have a discussion about all of that with four to five person, there might be some problem, there will be some disagreement and all those things will take time to negotiate and it is not fair to do all of the homework alone, since I’m not a travel agency, it is quite hard for me to find a person who can share the trouble planning this journey and it is no wonder why quite a lot of people prefer to travel solo for this trip.

It took me more than a year to plan the itinerary, like most people I’m busy also and in 2014 is among the busiest year for me, it start with MH370 tragedy, since then, I’ve less time for myself but still I try to get few hours normally pass midnight to plan my journey and I get the courage to try Trans-Siberian alone after I got back from Ukraine. Ukraine is former USSR and it really feels like I’m in Russia even though I’ve never been there, they also use Cyrillic for communication.

While I was in Kiev I did try to take a walk alone when I’ve free time wandering around, using their subway and that little experience is what makes me wanted to try the Trans-Siberian Railway. In fact there is a train from Kiev all the way to Moscow but at that time, it is not a good time to even think about it, the whole world seems to blame Russia for MH17 tragedy and the tension between Ukraine and Russia is quite intense at that time especially around Donestk where the MH17 was believed to be shot down by Pro-Russian Rebels.

In fact when I took a taxi from Kuala Lumpur City Centre to Russian Embassy at Jalan Ampang to apply for a visa, the taxi driver asked me “Don’t you afraid to visit Russia”? And I just answered it with a wry smile. If only the taxi driver knew that I spend almost two week in Ukraine covering the MH17 tragedy, but I just kept mum about that, and after five days when I took my passport with Russian Visa attached, I took another taxi to KLCC, and this time the taxi driver told me that he had been to Russia before, he is retired businessman and drive taxi just for “fun”. He told me to be extra careful when in Saint Petersburg, take extra precaution when took the subway, watch for the pick-pocket.

Nobody knew about my whereabout, not even my close friend, I travel the Trans-Siberian Railway off-radar, I only keep up to date about my itinerary, my whereabout with  my close family only, none of my friends have any idea where I’m going and I did not post any facebook  status  while I’m on the Trans-Siberian journey, I just write facebook comments just like I was somewhere here in Malaysia, when in fact I’m a thousand kilometer away from my family.

I would like to end my short article here with a great quote from Henry David Thoreau that will sum it all :

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”

- Henry David Thoreau -